August cheer for Kandhamal’s turmeric growers

With states implementing the Spices Mission, much of the turmeric seeds was procured by the government leaving little for the consumers.
Turmeric (Photo | Amazon)
Turmeric (Photo | Amazon)

KANDHAMAL: Turmeric growers of Kandhamal are a happy lot. For the first time in 13 years, many of them have been able to sell turmeric (whole turmeric fingers) at Rs 100 per kg this month. In the last decade, the cost of a kg of dry turmeric has ranged between Rs 45 and Rs 60.

Traditionally grown in forests and hills of the district, Kandhamal turmeric is completely organic with a strong aroma and higher medicinal value. It received a geographical indication (GI) tag on April 1, 2019, coinciding with the state’s foundation day, and a National Intellectual Property Award last year.

Kandhamal Apex Spices Association for Marketing (KASAM) - a registered society involved in the processing and marketing of spices - procures a majority of the crop from farmers at Rs 60 per kg.

It has nearly 12,000 farmers from 60 cooperative societies under its fold. However, this month, the farmers under KASAM and other producer groups sold their produce to the traders who offered Rs 100 to Rs 105 per kg.

KASAM secretary Sanjit Patnaik attributed the price hike to the Spices Mission, a Central scheme.

“Since many of the states including Odisha are implementing the Spices Mission this year, the rhizomes (seeds) were procured by the Department of Agriculture in large quantities. This led to a shortage and price rise by almost 200 to 300 pc in open markets,” he reasoned.

While in Erode and Nizamuddin - two biggest markets for turmeric which also procure Kandhamal haldi - the price shot up to Rs 120 to Rs 130 per kg, it was Rs 105 in Odisha.

Patnaik added that there are happy times ahead for farmers as this price trend will continue till the new crop is harvested in January-February next year. Under the Spices Mission, Odisha is to cultivate turmeric on 7,000 hectare including 3,000 hectare in Kandhamal alone.

(Left) A girl boils turmeric rhizomes before drying them (Right) Women farmers collecting the crop | (Kailash C Dandapat, EPS)
(Left) A girl boils turmeric rhizomes before drying them (Right) Women farmers collecting the crop | (Kailash C Dandapat, EPS)

A farmer, Ramakanta Pradhan of Erpisaru village, who sold his produce at Rs 100 a kg, said some farmers are still waiting for the price to go up further to sell their stock.

“The middlemen have told us that the price may go up to Rs 130. There is very little stock left with farmers now because no one wanted to let go of the chance of earning the extra buck,” said Pradhan who is a member of Daringbadi Farmers Producers Group.

Since turmeric does not yet have a minimum support price, the farmers have long been demanding a price rise for the organic crop.

Kandhamal produces close to 24,000 metric tonne of dry turmeric by cultivating the crop over 13,600 hectares of land annually.

Of this stock, 1,400 to 1,500 metric tonne is exported to countries like Europe, the US, UK and Australia.

As many as 40,000 households in the district are involved in growing and processing turmeric.

Patnaik said there are plans to increase the area under turmeric cultivation and export next year.

“Since 2019 when Kandhamal turmeric got the GI, we haven’t been able to brand and market it properly owing to reasons including the elections and pandemic. The market for Kandhamal turmeric is improving now and we are hopeful of increasing the exports to 4,000 to 5,000 MT in the coming years,” he added.

Farming facts:

  1. Kandhamal produces close to 24,000 MT of dry turmeric by cultivating the crop over 13,600 hectares of land annually
  2. 1,400 to 1,500 metric tonnes is exported to countries like Europe, the US, UK and Australia
  3. As many as 40,000 households in Kandhamal district are involved in growing and processing turmeric

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com